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Always a favorite in all types of jewelry, diamonds are making a dynamic appearance on the watch scene this year, making their way around the faces of watches, on the bands and even on the faces of high-quality time pieces. They are finding comfortable partnerships with watch faces in everything from white and yellow gold, sterling silver and stainless steel to mother of pearl -- a phenomenally popular material that comes in a wide range of colors. Straps on fine watches also have undergone a fashion evolution with silver, stainless steel and gold holding strong, but colorful leather straps and even those in velvet, satin and grosgrain making a strong showing.

Rolex has freshened its always popular watch lines with a new feminine, classy but playful approach as seen in its Cellissima series with a hot pink alligator leather strap (available in other colors as well) and 18-karat white gold face surrounded by 242 round brilliant diamond bezels. It sells for about $11,750 and is available at Adler's (Lakeside Shopping Center, 3301 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 523-5292; 722 Canal St., 523-5292; Oakwood Shopping Center, 197 Westbank Expwy., Gretna, 523-5292). Designer David Yurman also is keeping time with current trends as is evident with his Madison watch series, which includes a woman's watch with a burgundy alligator strap (it also comes in other colors such as lime and pink) and a white mother-of-pearl dial surrounded by 36 brilliant diamonds weighing in at .79 carats and selling for $4,200 at Aucoin Hart Jewelers (1525 Metairie Road, Metairie, 834-9999). Yurman's Madison series also is available with a double-cable sterling silver bracelet strap for $4,500 as well as gold versions for considerably more. Both this watch and the Rolex have quartz movements.

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